All year, it’s been everything but the Nationals’ offense that has cost them games. This week, the bats are finally getting their turn.
Washington scored just one run on seven hits tonight, a day after falling 4-2 to the Orioles in 12 innings. The Nationals have scored nine runs in their last four games, and four in the three losses over that span.
“Can’t complain now,” manager Manny Acta said. “We scored enough runs before, and now we’re pitching better, and the runs are not there. Not complaining. The guys are playing hard and playing good baseball.”
The night was probably most frustrating for Austin Kearns, who left five runners on base and missed a go-ahead double by inches in the eighth inning. Kearns drilled a hard grounder down the third-base line off Jim Johnson, but it barely drifted foul, costing Nick Johnson and Adam Dunn chances to score. He wound up hitting into an inning-ending double play.
It wound up being a good night for Ross Detwiler, who fought back from some mechanical problems that had him walking batters early. Acta said Detwiler lost his release point on a walk to Koji Uehara in the third inning, thinking he should back his velocity off and throw strikes so Uehara would put a ball in play that could have resulted in a double play to end the inning. The adjustment threw off his delivery, and he walked the bases loaded in the third.
But a dugout visit with pitching coach Randy St. Claire put him back on line, and Detwiler set down 10 of the last 11 he faced.
“I feel pretty good,” Detwiler said. “I have some things to work on, but I feel OK.”
One more note: On the Nick Markakis grounder that led to the Orioles’ first run, Willie Harris was playing Markakis to pull, so he was supposed to be located where he was. “I knew he wasn’t going to be at second the whole time,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “We’re playing Markakis to pull, and it’s a swinging, I guess, bunt to the perfect spot.”
OK, I guess two more notes: The Nationals are now 12-30. After 42 games last year, they were 18-24. There are plenty of signs the Nationals aren’t as bad as that team was—the offense is better, they’d be near .500 if not for the bullpen, etc.
But in the words of Bill Parcells, you are what your record says you are.